A Dog is a Dog

By PhotoLori on Sep. 11, 2017


"If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth."
Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce

Today is the day. She has been awake most of the night. Unable to sleep, thinking of the things that lie ahead for her. She is anxious. And sad. And filled with an uneasy sense of dread. Slowly she gets up. Puts her feet on the cold floor. She stands and begins to get ready for her day. She has always loved her job. It’s hard. But also rewarding. She knows that her work makes a difference to so many lives. But today that will all change. She drinks her coffee and wonders if she will ever be the same.A1403112023x.jpg

The man in the black boots stops at his kennel. 

“Hello handsome boy. Are you a good boy? Yes, you are.”

He unlocks the kennel door and kneels down. Scratches his ears and gives him a piece of chicken. He loves the attention and rolls over for a belly rub. He likes this man. The man who feeds him. And walks him. And gives him love. He is happy and wags his tail.

Stella005.jpgShe pulls into the parking lot of the shelter. It looks the same. In the distance she hears the dogs. Some barking, some whining. It is a familiar sound, but today it makes her shiver. She clears her head and thinks about happier days. It’s the only way she can face what is her duty to fulfill. She walks into her office. Puts on her white coat and prepares for the day.

He licks the man’s hand as he puts the leash over his head. He’s a good boy and sits patiently. And then they begin their walk. He trots happily by the man’s side. The man seems less eager to walk him. His pace is slow. He sniffs the air and slows his pace to match. They turn and walk down the corridor. It’s a different hallway and he suddenly feels apprehensive. The man looks down at him.

“You’re a good boy.”

MableFusaro002a.jpgA knock at her door. She stiffens. The silver table gleams under the fluoresant lights. This is the hardest part of her job. Prior to today the reasons were never easy, but palatable. But now, it’s become overwhelming, senseless. How did it come to this? These creatures that she vowed to love and protect and take care of are why she chose to work here. The underdogs. The ones who need her the most. The ones that have found themselves in a place of hard luck. The ones who need the extra love and attention while they wait for their homes. She has become their executioner. She opens the door.

He sees the nice lady in the white coat. She has always been kind to him. She often stops by his kennel and sits inside with him. He likes her and trots over and looks up at her. His soft brown eyes are hopeful. She kneels down and puts her face in his fur. She kisses his head. He leans into her and licks her face. It tastes salty. She hugs him close and continues petting him.

Boscoe.jpgShe loves this brindled boy before her. He is a staff favorite. Silly and wiggly and full of energy. His fur is so soft and his kisses warm her heart. The tears begin slowly. He licks them away. Her heart grows heavy. The man in the black boots looks at her. Their eyes lock for a moment. No words need to be spoken. The heaviness fills both their minds. The dog is at their feet. Sitting. Smiling. Wanting to be loved. He is a dog. Just a dog. But a dog born with a blockhead and sinewy muscles beneath his shiny fur. The man picks him up and put him on the cold, silver table.

He is unsure. He sniffs the room and suddenly is afraid. His body tenses as the man lift him up. The woman continues to scratch his ears and speak softly to him. But she is sad. They lay him down and stroke his back. The man’s hands become firmer and he wants to struggle to get away. Run. Hide. But he cannot. The man’s grip is too firm. The nice lady brings something close to him. He does not know what it is. And then he feels the prick in his leg. It doesn’t hurt. He is confused. The lady is still speaking to him. Petting him. The man has loosened his grip and stands. Silently looking down at him. He sniffs the air. Sadness fills his nose.

IMG_6518.jpgShe stands motionless. She looks at the man in the boots, wanting something. Comfort? Condemnation? Pity? She does not know. She slowly lifts her eyes and meets his gaze. This big burly man stands before her and in that moment she feels his composure disappear. He lets out a breath and with it a tear rolls down his cheek. She cannot take the sight. The dog on the table has taken his last breath, his last sniff of the air. She knows he is the first of many. In that instant she realizes that she cannot do this. She cannot be a part of this senseless law that has taken affect. She must take a stand. She reaches out and strokes the dog’s fur. Will she ever be the same? She turns and walks out of the room. She will not be back.

The burly man in the black boots reaches out to take the black garbage bag into his hands. He stops, unable to continue. This boy, this good boy does not deserve to have his burial be as if he were a bag of rubbish. He bends down and cradles the dog’s lifeless form in his arms. This dog trusted him. He loved this dog and now he lays motionless on the table. He tries to hide his sobs. But he cannot. This life was precious. And now it’s gone. He holds on to him and vows to make a change.

KaiMufasa0014.jpgBreed specific legislation is wrong. Pit bulls have done nothing wrong short of being born with characteristics that fall into an arbitrary list that seem to have been drawn from the air. Take a stand. Be their voice. Put a stop to the senseless killing of these innocent animals. A dog is a dog. Is a dog. Is a dog. All creatures on this earth matter. If you have a pit bull in your life that is a light in your life head over to My Pit Bull Is A 99 Percenter on Facebook and share your amazing dog. Or tell us about your amazing dog in the comments below.

Professional photographer and dedicated animal activist LoriFusaro takes photos of shelter dogs and cats at Best Friends Animal Society - L.A. in hopes that the images will help them find their forever homes. She also has a soft spot for pit bulls. Be sure to check out "My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts," a book written by Laura T. Coffey, with photos by LoriFusaro.

Check out Lori's amazing photos of gorgeously goofy personable pitbulls.

Read about the most successful foster failure ever.

Learn more about Lori's journey to photograph dogs in need.

Read about how a change of mind can soften the hardest of hearts.

Check out Laura and Lori's national best-seller here.

We've helped 5.2 million pets find their forever homes. Learn more about Petco Foundation.

About the Author
  • Lori Fusaro has worked as a photographer since 1996. Her boutique studio, Fusaro Photography, is based in Los Angeles, CA, where she is well known for her lifestyle portraiture of pets. She was honored as the top portrait photographer in the L.A. area for four consecutive years and her work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show Pets, In Touch Magazine and in the book ‘So You Want To Be A Pet Photographer’. Lori has a soft spot for seniors and her book “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts is a National Best Seller.
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